Prehistoric ‘river monster’ caught by angler


by Aidan Bordiuk |
Updated on

Fishing often has a way of constantly surprising anglers, as you never truly know which species you will catch next. That is exactly what happened to predator fanatic Ethan Birkenshaw when he landed an incredibly rare sea lamprey.

Targeting pike on his local River Stour, Ethan was completely shocked when the lamprey took a liking to his roach deadbait. The fish was never actually hooked by Ethan, it merely latched onto the side of his bait and wouldn't let go.

Lampreys are essentially parasites that feed on other aquatic organisms, utilising their sharp teeth and abrasive tongue to chew through the skin of the host and the begin feeding on the blood, which was the same in the instance of this capture.

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO CATCH A LAMPREY, WHY NOT TRY FOR BARBEL INSTEAD ON ONE OF THESE GREAT RIVERS?

The mouth of the lamprey that suckered onto Ethan's bait.
The mouth of the lamprey that suckered onto Ethan's bit.

"The fish fought really hard, swimming back and forth like an eel does. I initially thought that was what it was when I saw it in the water," Ethan said.

"It wasn't until I got it on the bank and saw the strange mouth full of teeth that I realised it wasn't an eel."

"The fish was never actually hooked, it just latched on and really didn't want to let go."

"Not really knowing what it was, I quickly got some photos and held the fish in the water until it swam off strongly."

"I took the photos to my local tackle shop, Bournemouth Fishing Lodge, where we discussed what it was and how rare a capture it was."

The sea lamprey is born in freshwater rivers around the UK and generally spends around two years at sea feeding before returning to the river to spawn, where they will then die shortly after. The species is threatened, and extra care should be taken if you catch one to return it to the river to continue its life cycle.

GET YOURSELF ONE OF THE BEST FISHING REELS TO COVER WHATEVER STYLE OF ANGLING YOU ENJOY!

A very rare capture indeed, a sea lamprey.
A very rare capture indeed, a sea lamprey.
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